The Pandemic and I (7) – Mask life

Deadpool Minnie Mousemask VS Darth Vadermask!!

I have to wear a surgical face mask during my working day. Before the pandemic, a mask was something we only ever wore if there was an outbreak of seasonal flu, gastro, or coughs and colds, but they have now become standard work issue along with our uniforms.

A 10 hour shift wearing one of these is no fun, but after a while you kind of get used to breathing behind it. The psychological and science benefits of knowing it can help avoid transmission of our dear Covid-19 is welcome.

I thought it would be fun to take a look into my archives and see what non-healthcare mask images I have… you know, the ones that are fun, geeky, Halloween or movie-based…

I had a lot more mask images than I thought 🙂

E.T., and Dark Crystal masks by Don Post. Starlog. 1982.

Vic Door Creepers. Starburst N°109. 1987. UK.

Don Post masks. Starlog. 1980.

Cheetara mask. Thundercats N°77. 1988. UK.

Below: not a mask I know, but a helmet… this is pretty good protection all the same!

Judoon Sound FX helmet. Doctor Who Adventures. 2007. UK.

Below: Warning! Beware of American actors stealing surgical masks right from under your feet!

Spidey wouldn’t do that!

Spider-Man: Far From Home chirashi poster. 2019. Japan.

Jabba’s henchmen might! 

Star Wars. Return of the Jedi masks by Don Post. US. 1983.

Below: oops! Wrong kind of mask…

M.A.S.K. France. Pif gadget 896. 1986.

Below: from the Star Wars Book of Masks, (Le Livres des Masques. Hachette Jeunesse. 1983. France).

Below: superheroes wear masks!

Heroes World masks. 1979. US.

Heroes World Spider-Man Ski Mask. 1981. US.

Warning: best not to use the below mask under any circumstances!!

USA. The Best of Starlog Vol 1. 1980.

That’s all for now, folks!

Thank you for avoiding facial-recognition with us 🙂


And now, back to the science…

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

When and how to use masks

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of the Covid-19 virus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


 

The pandemic and I. (6) fools, cake, roadblocks, a cold beer, Michonne from The Walking Dead, and a welcome lie in.

Report – Saturday 28 March

Due to staff shortages at work, I haven’t had the energy nor time this week to enjoy the wonderful world of WP blogging. I’ve just finished for a weekend off after completing four 10 hour shifts in a row. Prior to that I’d already done two 10 hour shifts with only a day off in between.

Imagic, Atari. 1983.

I’m not complaining here. Work is a rewarding (if risky) distraction, and it’s a good feeling knowing our team is doing all it can, and so far successfully, to keep our 74 elderly residents virus free. But to say that come Friday evening I wasn’t hallucinating a little, unable to think and speak correctly in either English or French, and had a yearning for a cold beer or two, followed by a sleep knowing a lie in was in store the following morning, would be an understatement so massive it could easily be seen from space.

So what’s been happening for TVTA this week during the pandemic? And, dear friends, how are you all coping and managing?

  • Safety in numbers? (a) Our units house 74 vulnerable elderly people presenting a range of medical conditions. To date, no one has died from Covid-19, nor have had, or are showing any symptoms. In France, where numbers of deaths and infections are rising in many retirement homes, we consider ourselves fortunate so far.
  • Safety in numbers? (b) Since last week, our residents remain in isolation in their rooms. Some are coping well – even loving it. Some are starting to get a little stir crazy. Some don’t understand the situation at all, and leave their rooms constantly. Staff do all we can with what small time we have free to take those who are suffering from isolation outside – individually, and under protocols – into the gardens for 10, 15 mins fresh air and exercise. It’s not much, but helps enormously to lift the spirits of some.

Roadblock!

Majorette police toys. France. 1986.

  • Holy crap! I got stopped for the first time during our lockdown by the police. I was cycling home from shift. There were eight of them blocking the entrances to a town roundabout. They asked to see my papers. Asked where I worked. As a health carer, I have to carry government papers validating the reasons why I am outdoors during the lockdown. I showed my papers (outstretched hands, 1 metre distance between me and the gruff officer). He looked my papers over, mumbled Merci, monsieur, and sent me on my way. It was a bit weird being stopped and questioned liked that, but I respect the police having to do so in trying to catch those breaking the strict social distancing rules.

I pity the fool!

Mr T. Eagle. 1983. UK.

  • I don’t want to judge. I don’t want to laugh. I certainly don’t want anyone to suffer from this horrible virus, nor would I wish it upon anyone. But I will state: some people are born fools…

United Kingdom PM Boris Johnson (right) and Rishi Sunak clap in appreciation of NHS workers. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images.

“I’m shaking hands continuously. I was at a hospital the other night where there were actually some Coronavirus patients & I shook hands with everybody. People can make up their own mind but I think it’s very important to keep shaking hands.” Boris Johnson. 03 March 2020.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.” Boris Johnson. 27 March. 2020.

Cake, glorious cake!

Cover. The Wilton Yearbook of Cake Decorating 1982.

  • At work, the family of one of our residents sent in food parcels for the staff. The delivery contained delicious cakes, croissants, pain au chocolate, and fresh fruit. Not supermarket stuff, but expensive, top quality products. Did we feel treated? Did we feel strong as lions after eating such a feast? Oh yes 🙂

I love Michonne!

Image Source: Wikipedia

One of my coping mechanisms to ‘decompress’ during the pandemic is catching up on seasons 2, 3, and 4 of The Walking Dead which I never watched. I watched season 1 when it first came out, then didn’t pick it back up until season 5.

I’ve always liked the character Michonne. She is fearless, fierce, cool, stubborn, deadly, moody, bold… seeing her introduced for real in season 3, armed with her katana, hooded, and dragging along two shackled walkers which she was using for protection and camouflage… I thought: just wow, and what the…!

Season 2 completed. I’m on season 3 now.

The Walking Dead season 3. Image courtesy of AMC.

Cat communications to help us!

We end with a message from our overlords, the cats:

“Meowl, miew, meow, mrahhh, purr, myawl!” translation: “Dear humans, be safe, isolate and rest, wash often. Like us!”

Cats. TVTA collection.



For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages 

The pandemic and I. (5) Learning one of your colleagues tested positive

Report – Monday 23 March

We learned this weekend that one of our colleagues from the elderly medical retirement home we work at has tested positive for Covid-19. As care workers from the same team, how does this make us feel?

Shocked and sad – for our colleague, a close team member; Worried/stressed – that others may be infected, staff, residents (impossible to know when testing is not made available until someone shows symptoms); Weary – we lose another staff member when we are already suffering losses due to other reasons, and staff having to reorganise work for family commitments. Example, the morning shift yesterday we were only one staff short, but on the evening shift we were three short; Realising we are vulnerable – some of us have a sense of ‘invincibility’ as we are under excellent and strict control measures and protocols at work. Learning one of the ‘troops’ has gone down definitely puts a chink in the collective armour; Relieved – no one else has reported symptoms as yet, and all residents are in good health; Determined and/or resigned – to work on under the most difficult and evolving circumstances.

Our latest protocols:

  • Isolation procedures put into immediate effect for all residents. No one leaves their rooms at any time now. This ensures zero contact between the residents themselves. Quite distressing for some as they feel a prisoner in their own room. For others they are very happy – never having to leave their room, room service, TV all day.
  • All personnel now have to wear masks when previously only if you had a cough, cold or had not been vaccinated against seasonal flu. The reason was a) no one was Covid-19 positive at the time, and b) we didn’t have enough masks. This shortage of masks is not something exclusive to us, or even France, but a worldwide issue. Our management has now requisitioned enough masks for all personnel (Maybe they had been stockpiling ready for our first case?).
  • Continuation of twice-daily temperature taking for personnel.
  • Continuation of no visitors except medical personnel. This policy has been waived on two occasions to allow relatives (under controlled measures) to see a family member who is receiving end-of-life care and is not expected to live beyond 48 hours.
  • A former visitor’s lounge has been cleared and transformed into a stock room full of boxes standing floor to ceiling containing medical equipment, hand sanitisers, toilet roll, cleaning products.

Upbeat, somehow, you have to be!

We’re hoping there are no more cases for staff, and that we can keep our extremely vulnerable residents safe. In the absence of any quick, easy and sound means to test staff daily, it’s impossible to know who of us might bring the virus in. The onus is of course on us not to bring the infection into the home of the residents, and we can only do this by following strict protocols both inside the units and in our own homes, and by limiting our exposure to outside.

TVTA morale is upbeat!

Gonna wash my hands and wash my hair! Plus, free cute kitten!!!

UK. Film Review. 1979.

From kittens and nice hair to…

… distraction TV blood, guts and zombies!

Thank you The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead season 2. Image courtesy of AMC.

For me personally, one of my coping mechanisms to ‘decompress’ is catching up on seasons 2, 3, and 4 of The Walking Dead which I never watched. I watched season 1 when it first came out, then didn’t pick it back up until season 5. (must be a time travelling thing for TVTA, and I’m totally enjoying seeing the pre-evolution of certain characters and storylines). Thanks to Netflix very responsibly streaming in low-definition during these troubled times to help free up internet speeds, I can finally see these three seasons I missed.

TVTA escapism? Avoiding reality? Mr Editor, is it wise for you to watch a TV show set in a violent and death-filled post-apocalyptic world?

Hell yeah! Fiction is good for the soul. And just imagine how much more we’d feel fkd up with zombies trying to eat our faces!! 🙂

By contrast, I could also look at more kitten images, and drink tea. Or both!

Hello Kitty tea set.

Stay well and healthy everyone. Thank you for your messages of encouragement and support. Together we can get through this!

Remember…


  1. Remember, a mask should only be used by health workers, care takers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
  2. Before touching the mask, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  3. Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
  4. Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
  5. Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side).
  6. Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
  7. Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
  8. After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
  9. Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
  10. Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water.

Information: WHO


For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages 

The pandemic and I. (4) Buying toilet paper during a lockdown

France is in a state of full lockdown. If you want to go outdoors you have to carry a declaration form called Attestation De Déplacement Dérogatoire. The form entitles you to give a justifiable reason to the police why you are going out, and must meet the government’s strict criteria.

  • You may go to work (essential and approved employees only).
  • You may purchase essential goods (at approved outlets).
  • You may seek medical care.
  • You may visit family if they are in a vulnerable situation, like aiding elderly relatives or looking after family children.
  • You may partake in exercise like jogging, cycling, etc., but no collective or team activities. And you may walk your dog.

Each time you go out, you have to fill in a new one of these forms and date it. I don’t need to carry and produce one for work as I have official papers stating I am soignant – health care worker. Citizens are subject to a police fine of 135 euros if you don’t produce your paper.

Talking of paper…

Buying toilet paper during a lockdown   

Surely it wasn’t much to ask, but I needed a pack of toilet paper; just one pack of six would have done, hell, even a four pack, a twin-pack… but seeing as the French population has been panic-buying packs upon packs upon packs of the stuff, I knew my little detour to buy this simple yet essential necessity on my way to the boulangerie this morning would be like something akin to finding the lost city of Atlantis or the Holy Grail.

The first shop I called at. The shopkeeper glanced up at me from his till as I entered his shop, which was worryingly empty of customers apart from me. He rolled his eyes and went back to doing his crossword. One look at his aisles and at the almost completely bare shelves, was enough for me to realise he wasn’t going to have any toilet paper to sell to me. Au revoir.

The second shop I called at. I decided to be proactive. So in my best rubbish French I asked the shop keeper if she had any toilet paper. My response was a volley of oaths enough to make a pirate blush, and then she produced a baseball bat from under her counter and started waving it at me, ordering me to leave immediately. Luckily, Wooof was with me, who speaks much better French than I do, and as he hastily tried to explain to the irate shopkeeper that we only wanted loo roll, she pointed a stiff finger at a sign on her door, which read: NO DOGS. Blast. Double-whammied in less than a minute! After trying in vain to explain that he wasn’t a dog, but was in fact a talking, green cat, Wooof gave up. “Well, she was a bit grouchy to say the least,” I said to the cat outside the shop. It was then that Wooof informed me that the shopkeeper had misheard my bad French accent request for toilet paper as: “Madame, I am pleased to be infected today, may I please use your toilet?”

The third shop I called at. I was overjoyed to see a lady with a basket containing a loaf of bread, cheese, and a twin-pack of toilet roll. Cool! Next, I saw a man with a basket containing a twelve-pack of roll. Yay! Next, a lady with a pack of 24 under both arms. “Things are looking up,” I said to Wooof, as we headed to the aisle. On the way, we passed a man with a trolley completely stuffed with the product. Then another shopper, with two trolleys, towers of the damn things in all their bright packaging. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” said Wooof. We were just about to round the corner of the aisle when we saw another shopper, who had tied several baskets together to make a train – each one laden with loo roll, kitchen roll, boxes of tissue, even wet wipes for goodness sake! And of course, when Wooof and I arrived at the aisle for toilet paper… everything had gone!

The fourth shop I called at was under armed robbery. Toilet rolls again. This time the high-end stuff only the 1% buy. Later we would learn on the news these precious packs of 3-ply, quilted, velvet, embossed, stamped with images of unicorns frolicking in meadows, would be sold on the black market for five-thousand euros a pack!

In the end, Wooof and I gave up, and went to the boulangerie. And it is only now, while dipping our croissants and pain au chocolate in our hot coffees, that the cat and I are able to look back and chuckle at our unsuccessful adventure.

Out of control behaviour

It seems some people are not always good at sharing, are not very patient, and get themselves into a right old tizzy over certain products. Remember the French Nutella riots of 2018?

Good news for wine sellers!

There has been a massive increase in the sale of wine during the pandemic. This surge is likely due to citizens guarding the bottle corks. When in time of pandemic, and toilet paper has ran out, what better solution than a smartly-inserted cork to delay the call of nature!

TVTA morale in good shape!

Spot the difference:

This is a photo of The Vintage Toy Advertiser editorial team taken long before the pandemic, in happier times and days…

TVTA editorial staff annual general meeting last summer.

And this is us now, during the pandemic, and in complete lockdown (and with no toilet paper).

TVTA editorial staff meeting during 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

Report – Wednesday 18 March

  • As you might have guessed from this post, I’m keeping my spirits up as the most self-induced constipated care worker in France can do right now 🙂
  • The streets here are eerily quiet during this lockdown. Hardly any traffic. No crowds. Rush hour is now like a Sunday morning. And no aeroplanes in the sky! It’s almost like being in some post-apocalyptic movie…
  • At work, no reported cases of Covid-19 🙂 Morale good between staff and residents. Yesterday we were four staff short for the afternoon and evening shift due to family commitments. Our head nurse, psychologist, and activities coordinator stayed over to 19:30 to help out when normally they finish at 17:00. #TeamSpirit
  • Post offices are closed. Some family wishing to send parcels to residents have taken to driving to the main gate and leaving presents of cards, chocolate and flowers 🙂

That’s all for this update. Stay well and healthy everyone, and thank you for your messages of encouragement and support. Together we can get through this.

Post script

Later that day, after another journey to the shops…

Yipee!!

At last. Toilet paper success at TVTA towers!


For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages 

The pandemic and I. (3) Essential staff in a medical retirement home

Who are the essential staff members required to be on site to operate a typical, fully functioning residential home for 70+ elderly people with medical needs? The list may be longer than you think. The following is based on my own observations from my workplace…

  • Manager
  • Head nurse
  • Nurses
  • Care assistants
  • Receptionist
  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning staff
  • Chef
  • Kitchen assistants
  • Restaurant servers
  • Laundry staff

Without any of the above, the establishment would soon cease to function properly. Let’s look at staff members who aren’t required to be on site each day, but without whose services the residents would undoubtably suffer…

  • Psychologist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Speech therapist
  • Chiropodist
  • Activities coordinator
  • Hairdresser

The second list is shorter, yet removing any of these for a length of time will result in a diminishment of the health of the residents. Let’s look at a third list. These are professionals who may only be inside the establishment for a very short period.

  • Visiting doctors
  • Ambulance drivers
  • Medical equipment delivery and maintenance
  • Kitchen supplies delivery
  • Cleaning supplies delivery
  • Pharmaceutical supplies delivery

Another short list, but take away any of these and the service will suffer. Let’s look at our final list: two groups of non-professionals who are without doubt vital to the well-being of the residents… yet, are currently prohibited from entering the establishment due to Covid-19 coronavirus.

  • Family
  • Friends

So sad, that the only two groups which have any emotional meaning and bond to the residents are not allowed in. Naturally, this absence is already taking its toll on the psychological well-being of some of our residents. Examples: residents becoming tearful or withdrawn because they miss seeing loved ones. One resident celebrating her 84th birthday alone. One resident missing her gifts of chocolate and sweets. Residents becoming angry because they do not understand the rules surrounding Covid-19. Residents sensing they are in prison because they aren’t allowed to go out anymore.

Our units are like a ghost town since no visitors allowed. Honestly, you don’t really appreciate the presence of family and friends day to day, until they are suddenly no longer visiting.

To try and ease this unfortunate situation, what can we – as staff – do? And what can family and friends do?

So far, the following is a help:

  • Staff giving over some of their break time to spend with residents.
  • More music, sing-a-longs, and dance activities – this falls to our heroic activities coordinator who is having to make all activities herself as no outside entertainment is allowed in.
  • One-to-one time – this falls to our heroic psychologist who is keen to give as much of her time as possible to chat with each resident. (On a side note, I would now place the activities coordinator and psychologist in my first list due to current circumstances, when previously they placed in my second list).
  • Ensuring all residents have access to phones and aid given to speak to their loved ones.
  • Setting up residents to communicate with family via Skype.
  • Encouraging family to send gifts and letters and flowers through the post.

It’s not much, but you can see it making a difference in small ways. Reaching out to people you believe are suffering from loneliness is something we can all do. Already, there are Apps made and being created to try and link people together remotely. Not just for the elderly… even younger people will feel alone and afraid if made to become isolated.

Report – Monday 16 March

  • President Macron gave an address tonight announcing a near total lockdown of France. From tomorrow noon nobody can venture outdoors for at least the next 15 days unless they can prove they are essential workers or buying essential goods.
  • 100,000 Police mobilised onto the streets to ensure citizens abide by the new rules.
  • France closes its borders.
  • Reported: 5,423 confirmed coronavirus cases and 127 deaths.

My day:

  • Work for me is okay today. No reports of Covid-19 or suspected cases related to us. However, we were short-staffed with some having to change shifts for child care reasons, and one staff going off sick (not Covid-19 related).
  • Two of our residents died today, both of old age and with no underlying illness. One of them was from my unit, so I had to prepare her body for the undertaker. Both residents I had got to know well over the past three years, so it was sad to see them leave, but at least they died peacefully, in bed, and without suffering any pain. A decent way to go.
  • We welcomed a new resident today… but due to the recent strict rules of having to quarantine any new arrivals, this person will now have to spend the next 15 days isolated in his bedroom. Welcome to your new home!
  • A replacement chef came today and gave everyone extra helpings for lunch… this went down rather well with all 🙂

Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently…

This is an excellent way to wash your hands correctly. I currently work in the French health care system and have spent years working for the NHS in the UK. The above method is also approved by WHO, and is the one I’ve always used.

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to theWorld Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, everyone stay safe.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages 

The pandemic and I. (2)

Partial lockdown

Just now, the French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has announced live on TV ‘Stage three of the epidemic’, meaning a complete shutdown of non-essential public establishments such as bars, restaurants, shops, discotheques, gyms, and cinemas in the whole of France.

This is now a situation knocking on the same door as measures implemented recently by Italy and Spain – but not a complete lockdown yet, as public transport here in France is yet to be stopped, and churches are still open – though not to services or weddings.

Report – Saturday 14 March

Following on from my last post here health care professionals with children of school age will now no longer be allowed to stay at home to care for their children… the government is ready to implement a ‘skeleton’ service for creche, school, and college pupils so that health care professional parents can continue to work.

A good decision I think. This will ease the burden of losing staff needed to keep the care system going. I am fortunate to live and work in such a sensible country.

However, what baffles me is that the country has decided to still go ahead with its municipal elections tomorrow. What? Why? When the government just announces an almost complete lockdown of the Republic in the attempt to avoid spreading the virus, what logic dictates millions of people standing in lines and entering enclosed spaces to cast a vote?

Surely better to delay the vote?

I imagine many French citizens will be angry about this: “Sure, we can’t go the bar or restaurant because of spreading the virus, but we are still expected to vote, and risk spreading the virus?!?

Some overall positives

  • Good containment measures.
  • Measures implemented to ensure health care professionals have child care so they can continue to work.
  • Supermarkets, pharmacies, newsagents, and public transport still open to the public.
  • Possible decrease in air pollution due to less traffic and industry.

Negatives

  • I feel sorry for those now plunged into worry because their businesses are no longer able to operate. I hope the French government offers many financial packages to support people like this during the pandemic.
  • I hope measures are put into place to limit the panic-buying of goods.

I’m off shopping tomorrow morning – but only for a baguette and a couple of croissants. Should be okay for those at least 🙂

Wash, rinse, repeat:

Remember, the best way to stay germ-free is to wash your hands frequently and correctly…

Post paused briefly as I go and wash my hands…

This is an excellent way to wash your hands correctly. I currently work in the French health care system and have spent years working for the NHS in the UK. The above method is also approved by WHO, and is the one I’ve always used.

Dear readers…

Thank you for your messages of support from my last post. I haven’t got round to acknowledging them fully yet, but reading them cheered me up. You are already fine ambassadors of the above infographic!

I’m not too worried tbh, even now, while France has just gone into almost full lockdown. I believe with everyone playing their part, with patience and understanding, support, coordination, and empathy to those affected, everyone can get through this the world over 🙂

#Belief #BeKind

Again, please be beware of fake news, and any email scams offering advice and info about Coronavirus.

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website 

Thanks for reading. Until next time, everyone stay safe.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages 

The pandemic and I

This is a detour post from my usual blogging remit to commentate on the Coronavirus pandemic. As a health care worker in France whose client group is at biggest risk – the elderly – my colleagues and I find ourselves suddenly pushed into unique and worrying challenges in a job which already had significant challenges to begin with.

I work in a multi-disciplinary team at a private French medical retirement home for 70+ elderly people. The residents have a range of pathologies which require around-the-clock care and specialist medical attention. For them, facing the risk of catching Coronavirus is a matter of life and death.

Report – Friday 13 March

Coronavirus. Extraordinary times. As I wrote this last night, the global death toll as caused by Covid-19 has just passed 5,000; President Donald Trump has declared a US state of emergency (after initially branding the epidemic a ‘hoax’; and the World Health Organization says Europe is now the centre of the pandemic.

At work. The situation is so fluid it might be fair to say we need diving equipment as well as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

Ten days back, when events (Italy aside) were relatively calm in Europe, our units were given the direction that all personnel and visitors had to wear surgical masks while on the premises. This lasted for only three days. Quite simply, due to the high number of traffic coming in and out of our units, our stock of masks ran out. The problem partially solved itself by the recent decision at French national level to ban all visits to retirement homes by non-professional staff. Still, good luck trying to find a mask right now.

Fortunately, to date, our units remain Coronavirus free. Aside from worrying that anyone might be currently incubating the virus, there is ‘officially’ no need to wear a mask unless you choose to (and if you can find one 😐).

Honestly though, the best way to avoid catching any germs at all is to wash your hands frequently and correctly…

I now pause this post briefly as I go and wash my hands…

This is an excellent way to wash your hands correctly. I currently work in the French health care system and have spent years working for the NHS in the UK. The above method is also approved by WHO, and is the one I’ve always used.

Situation fluidity

In the past week, at a French national level, certain rules have been put into effect: 1) No visitors are allowed into retirement homes except health care professionals (a good decision). 2) School and university closures begin on Monday 16 March (a good decision). 3) Social gatherings are since limited from 1000 to 100 persons (a good decision).

Yesterday, we were given notice that all staff leave is cancelled until further notice, and that all staff (with exception to those who have to care for young children stopping at home due to school closures) needed to make themselves available for cover.

I have one child of school age. My wife is a teacher and has to abide by the same school closure rules, meaning she is available to give care at home to our son, while at the same time now having to perform her job remotely during a period when exams are coming up. The virus is affecting so many people on so many different levels.

For me, I will likely have to adapt my regular shifts and make myself available to cover some of the staff losses. We were given forms to complete stating the age of our children and if we were unable to work due to giving care at home. Worryingly, a good quarter of our staff have young children.

Question: Is it better to keep schools open and work with a full staff, or try and contain the virus by operating school closures and suffer inevitable staff shortages?

I think the school closures is sensible. Even if it means work for many of us is about to become harder.

Happy weekend! 🙂 

I’ve just finished a routine stretch of three 10 hour shifts, and am now enjoying my weekend off. How much longer I will able to enjoy two days off in a row as from next week is going to be subject to an ever-fluid situation; to staff shortages, to planning, to how fast the virus continues to spread, and if it reaches our (so far) safe, little haven.

Dear readers…

Beware of fake news, and any email scams offering advice and info about Coronavirus.

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website 

Thanks for reading. Until next time, everyone stay safe.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages 

Six Sentence Stories: a viral poem

Britains toys. 1983. UK.

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and the cue word this week is Routine.


A viral poem:

The rime of the ancient healthcarer

 

07h: Colleagues arrive, smiles behind masks, Wuhan shakes all around, wash hands, clean-crisp uniforms, temperatures taken.

09h: Patients washed and fed, some ache, some throb, some sneeze, some cough, mask on, wash hands, gloves on, temperatures taken.

14h: Sanitize, sterilize, realize some don’t like their own company in isolation, oxygen, pills, hand gels and meals on wheels, change mask, wash hands, touch face – blast it, wash hands again.

16h: Mask on, mask off, wash hands, mask on, disinfect, tick boxes checked, temperatures taken.

20h: Wash hands, change clothes, mask off, go home, wash hands, change clothes, watch news with family, prepare sandwiches for tomorrow.

00h: A routine sleep brings bad scenes lathered in dystopian creams, because there’s not enough water to keep us clean in viral dreams it seems we all must share, day after day, day after day, they dropped down one by one; virus, virus, everywhere, and all the crowds were gone.


After The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

#Coronavirus #WashHands